“I almost completely forgot this movie existed. It wasn’t until I was re-watching something nearby on the movie wall that I caught part of a trailer. I had to reexperience this movie.
Mos Def is left in charge of a video rental store, that is already in a pretty steep decline. When his neighbor Jack Black accidentally becomes magnetized and unintentionally erases all of the tapes in the store, the two in a very desperate move record themselves acting out an abridged version of the films. They become an unexpected sensation on their small city block and try to channel their efforts into saving their doomed store.
This movie is really all about their “”sweded”” movies. There’s several montages throughout where you see them, converting over more and more of their inventory to their DIY film creations. Besides the parody factor, the real magic is in the low budget effects they use. Some of it is silly, such as filming in negative to simulate nighttime while wearing photocopied masks of their faces, while other tricks are ingenious, like when they recreate the Men in Black tunnel scene by using a wheel with a bunch of matchbox cars stuck on it while they film upside down.
For me, the third act starts to break down a bit as the story starts to get a little mushy. We still have some of the crude film tools that I love, but the tone completely changes along with the characters’ motivations. Still, that middle chunk when they’re in their groove is some of the most fun you will ever have watching a movie. This film also introduced me to the wonderful Melonie Diaz, whose career I’ve tried to keep an eye on (at least when she’s not doing some obscure or unknown things). She’s got the right amount of charisma to mix in with those funny boys, and she just brightens up the whole film even more.
I’m tempted to close with some links to YouTube to see some of the gang’s Sweded films, but instead, I leave you to watch the film in its entirety instead so you can get the full effect”